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Vaccine. 2011 Aug 5;29(34):5725-30. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.05.094. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Impact of infant and preschool pertussis vaccinations on memory B-cell responses in children at 4 years of age.

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Centre for Infectious Disease and Control (Cib), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Whooping cough, caused by Bordetella pertussis, is reemerging in the vaccinated population. Antibody levels to pertussis antigens wane rapidly after both whole-cell (wP) and acellular pertussis (aP) vaccination and protection may largely depend on long-term B- and T-cell immunity. We studied the effect of wP and aP infant priming at 2, 3, 4 and 11 months according to the Dutch immunization program on pertussis-specific memory B-cell responses before and after a booster vaccination with either a high- or low-pertussis dose vaccine at 4 years of age. Purified B-cells were characterized by FACS-analysis and after polyclonal stimulation, memory B-cells were detected by ELISPOT-assays specific for pertussis toxin, filamentous haemagglutinin and pertactin. Before and after the booster, higher memory B-cell responses were measured in aP primed children compared with wP primed children. In contrast with antibody levels, no dose-effect was observed on the numbers of memory B-cell responses. In aP primed children a fifth high-dose aP vaccination tended to induce even lower memory B-cell responses than a low-dose aP booster. In both wP and aP primed children, the number of memory B-cells increased after the booster and correlated with the pertussis-specific antibody concentrations and observed affinity maturation. This study indicates that aP vaccinations in the first year of life induce higher pertussis-specific memory B-cell responses in children 4 years of age compared with Dutch wP primary vaccinations. Since infant aP vaccinations have improved protection against whooping cough in children despite waning antibody levels, this suggests that an enhanced memory B-cell pool induction may have an important role in protection. However, the pertussis-dose of the preschool booster needs to be considered depending on the vaccine used for priming to optimize long-term protection against whooping cough.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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